Survivor: Tocantins, week ten

Right off the bat I was amused when the elementary school principal used the word “supposably”. Oh, education system.

Looking back over the entire game, I can see where the Timbira alliance (Coach/Tyson/Debbie) made a lot of key mistakes. First, they alienated Erinn, so when the time came Erinn had no trouble flipping on them. Second, they splintered against Brendan and Sierra and chopped away their numbers advantage for no clearly defined reason. Then they put their trust in a solid alliance from the other tribe without considering what ulterior motives they might have had.

These little things all looked like dumb luck or happenstance at the time, but it’s clear now that Timbira was just making bad move after bad move. I think this is why you see a lot of upsets in this game, even though logically whoever has the numbers should dominate: Timbira thought they were in the lead and were untouchable, while Jalapao was underfoot and knew they’d need to be very careful to go forward.

Coach and Debbie, having just seen their numbers evaporate and coming to the realization that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to blindly trust the strongest players coming in from the opposing team, predictably tried to rebuild their own Timbira alliance. A tall order considering they spent the entire previous day telling Sierra how worthless and untrustworthy she is.

Burning bridges in Survivor is never a good idea. If Coach and Debbie had treated Sierra a little more amiably, maybe strung her along to believe she could stay in the game… they could have used her when they needed her. Not that throwing it back in their faces was particularly smart on Sierra’s behalf; had she played ball they might have had a shot dismantling Jalapao. But hey, she’s not very smart either.

Coach and Debbie are the worst kinds of players. I don’t really have a problem with Coach lying about who brought up the “Timbira strong” conversation to J.T. and Stephen; deception is part of the game. The ease with which he slid into this role, though, after weeks and weeks of preaching honesty and integrity… that’s really slimy. Coach, you were flat-out caught in a lie. Just man up to it. Absolutely nobody is fooled anymore

Debbie is even worse, with her crocodile tears and hissy fits whenever she doesn’t get her way. Tyson played hard but left with some class. When Debbie gets voted out, you can bet her parting words are going to be full of pointing fingers and calling names. If I were a second grader and this is how I saw my school principal acting, it would probably screw with my head something fierce.

In the end J.T. and Stephen decided to remove Sierra from the game and let Coach and Debbie believe they’re all best buds for just a while longer. I think this was a safe move; with the wild card gone the best the ex-Timbiras can hope for is to somehow coax Erinn back to their side and then force a tie (which would go disastrously for them because Stephen’s still got his idol). These two guys are such a joy to watch; Stephen is the crafty schemer absolutely nobody suspects, and J.T. is the good ol’ country boy who is a lot smarter than his accent lets on. The Dragonslayer and his minions underestimated them and now they’re paying the price.

[b]Who’s gonna win?[/b] I can’t imagine a scenario in which neither Stephen nor J.T. wins. For that to happen Erinn would have to cross over to Coach and Debbie, and then they’d have to sway Taj as well. This might be a smart play for them (better to be 3rd and 4th to Coach and Debbie than to J.T. and Stephen, right?) but I’m not sure either of them is gutsy enough to go for it. The only other crink here is that Stephen has to know he can’t beat J.T. in the finals, but doesn’t seem to have a plan for getting rid of him. I’m switching my call from Stephen over to [b]J.T.[/b] on this basis; the two of them are going to go to the finals together but J.T. will take the prize.

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